Book Review:

Elvis, Sherlock & Me...How I Survived Growing Up In Hollywood

Elvis, Sherlock & Me (How I survived Growing Up In Hollywood ), Michael A. Hoey,; USA, 2007, Soft cover, 324 pages + Index; Illustrated, ISBN-13: 9781593931223

“It’s a look at Hollywood from the inside…a fascinating glimpse at some of the industry’s heavy hitters, as told by someone who was there in the trenches - right from boyhood!“

.......Tom Weaver

The book description indicates Elvis, Sherlock & Me is a combination memoir and history of the film business covering the decades from the 1940’s to the present. This is an apt description and one which rightfully conjures up wonderful images of celebrity, glamour and excitement.

A strength of the author’s entertaining style and narrative purpose is that his book works very well on both levels, i.e. as memoir and Hollywood history.

Hoey deftly weaves among illuminating anecdotes about the industry and at times revealing profiles of some of its biggest stars.

Throughout, he maintains a colorful picture of a vibrant, multi-layered “Tinseltown” from its golden years to the, in its own way, equally fascinating culture of contemporary filmmaking.

Michael Hoey wrote the screenplay for six of Elvis’ films:

Tickle Me
Stay Away, Joe
Double Trouble
Live A Little, Love A Little

There are several chapters in his book about Elvis and a veritable smorgasbord of fascinating stories and insights about Elvis the man:

At first I thought Elvis was standoffish, but I soon came to realise he was incredibly shy.

On the Memphis Mafia, Hoey comments:

The gang was an odd assortment of humanity, made up of cousins and guys he’d gone to school with or met while in the army, with a major domo named Joe Esposito, who somehow managed to successfully please both Elvis and the Colonel at the same time.

Hoey holds a great respect for Elvis although it is occasionally tempered by a refreshing honesty. Again on the subject of the Memphis Mafia:

Elvis felt comfortable with these guys, and although there were occasions when I thought he demonstrated a cruel streak in his treatment of them, many of them stayed with him almost to the end.

Elvis, Sherlock & Me offers valuable insights about Elvis and rehearsals, hijinks on the set and the decline of Elvis’ popularity throughout the 1960s.

On the making of one of Elvis’ most underrated films, the sex farce Live A Little, Love A Little, Hoey’s characterisation of Rudy Vallee is a delight, reflecting the unusual situation of having two idols from different eras appearing alongside each other. Readers will welcome his description of how the neo-psychedelic (song) scene, Edge Of Reality, was filmed.

Hoey also makes an inspired observation about Elvis’ death.

Interestingly, Hoey would also direct Priscilla Presley (shown opposite with son Navarone) in the long running TV soap, Dallas.

There are also several rare b&w photographs of Elvis on and off set which will be welcomed by fans.

Apart from Elvis, Elvis, Sherlock & Me is crammed full of interesting and intriguing stories about the cream of Hollywood. Thanks to the author's brisk and fluent writing style the book pulsates with the excitement that is Hollywood. Hoey's prose evokes dazzling images of the dramas, highs and lows, and stars of a magical industry which occupies the minds, bookshelves and DVD collections of most people.

Film connoisseurs will relish Hoey’s stories of “Tinseltown” during the studio era. Students of film and film lovers will be fascinated by the behind the scenes look at how films are made, the idiosyncrasies of big name actors and the challenges faced and overcome by technicians behind the scenes.

Apart from Elvis just some of the film and TV celebrities featured in Elvis, Sherlock & Me are:

Walt Disney
Charlton Heston (below center)
Jack L. Warner
Bob Hope (below right)
Darryl Zanuck
Mel Brooks
Gregory Peck
Hal Wallis
John Ford
Fess Parker
Jimmy Cagney
(a temperamental) Angela Lansbury (below left)

As for some famous movies, it is a case of ‘something for everybody’ with literally hundreds of classic and not so well remembered celluloid releases mentioned, such as:

Barefoot In The Park
The Days of Wine and Roses
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
It's A Wonderful Life
National Velvet
Phantom of the Opera
The Philadelphia Story
Young Frankenstein
Ben Hur
Twelve O'Clock High
I Married A Monster From Outer Space

Those with a passion for the Golden and Silver eras in television will not be disappointed as there are stories and anecdotes about a large number of fondly remembered TV shows including:

Magnum P.I.
Falcon Crest
The Rat Patrol
Harry O.
Hill Street Blues
The Blue Knight (Robert Goulet)

Verdict: Elvis, Sherlock & Me is a riveting read. In a world so preoccupied with celebrity, Michael Hoey has woven a rich tapestry of Hollywood and its heroes. And, of course, there is plenty of Elvis!

About Michael A. Hoey: Michael Hoey is the son of British actor Dennis Hoey (best remembered as for his portrayal of Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard in the Sherlock Holmes films starring Basil Rathbone).

Michael has enjoyed a long and distinguished career as screenwriter, director and film editor, and in 1995 was elected to the Board of Governors of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He is very well placed to write about Hollywood, its films, TV programs, and stars.

Buy the book

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